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How the Cleveland Clinic is preparing to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine

The hospital system is finalizing plans for distribution.

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Clinic is one of three Northeast Ohio sites that will receive and distribute the new COVID-19 vaccines. The hospital system says it's ready to fill the shelves of its ultra-deep freezers with 100,000  to 200,000 doses. The first shipment is expected to be less than 1,000 vaccine doses, but the number of vaccines shipped to the Cleveland Clinic is expected to increase over time.  

Dr. Michelle Medina, the Cleveland Clinic Associate Chief of Clinical Operations, says the hospital system will distribute the vaccine to its own employees, but many long-term care facilities have a different set up.

“The federal government actually has a partnership with CVS & Walgreens. So a number of these vaccines will go directly to CVS & Walgreens and CVS and Walgreens have been partnering with these facilities to bring vaccines in to vaccinate the residents and the staff,” says Dr. Medina.

While high priority people are being vaccinated, details of exactly how to roll it out to everyone else will be figured out.

“So there have to be some considerations of how we actually bring caregivers and the public, rightfully when we get that point, into these specific locations and how we are making it accessible and easy for both caregivers and the public to be able to get the vaccine,” says Dr. Medina.

Due to vaccine production pace, supply, and staffing there are limits on how many people can be vaccinated a day.

“Looking at the locations that we are planning a day. Anywhere from  three to to four thousand a day,” says Dr. Medina.

And even then, our youngest family members still may be susceptible to COVID-19.

“This vaccine in particular may be approved for individuals 16 and up. So think about that, we may not have a vaccine for young kids for a while until we have those studies as well,” says Dr. Medina.